Meet Our Heroes

Nashville Predators Foundation


Supporting and celebrating the city they call home.

When the Nashville Predators founded their franchise, they arrived looking for a way to breathe a love of ice hockey into the tight-knit, Southern town.

The Predators quickly found a place in the hearts of the locals -- and vice versa. Within that first season, the team also founded the Nashville Predators Foundation, a nonprofit arm dedicated to celebrating and supporting their new hometown.

“The organization knew that there was a lot of great work going on throughout town, and it was something we wanted to be a part of,” says Krystin Fisher, Community Relations Coordinator. “It was a way to get to know fans on a different level. We don’t always have success on the ice, but we have been able to make the Predators a proud part of Nashville.”

Championing the heart of the city

Over the years the specific programs have changed and expanded, but the foundation has always focused on efforts to improve the lives of local youth and their families. These days annual programs include a scholarship supporting Middle Tennessee high school seniors and a grant program that funds area charities.

“Through our grants we empower charities in Middle Tennessee to do what they do best,” says Fisher.

The foundation also partners with players to champion causes important to them. “If a player comes to us and says, ‘This is where my heart is,’ we are definitely going to explore those opportunities to connect them with their passions,” says Fisher. In 2020, the foundation is helping manage programs for ten Preds players.

Some of those player programs have true staying power. The 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, initially spearheaded by two players in 2013 and benefitting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, has become a part of the foundation’s regular programming. Grant and scholarship are annual signature programs. 

Expanding and engaging with technology

With their impressive roster of giving and support programs, the foundation and community relations staff of the Nashville Predators has a full schedule. But until recently, they were managing many of their programs by hand.

Paper applications, complicated spreadsheets, and heavy manual input were taking their toll. Instead of connecting with partnering charities or planning new ways to fundraise, they were doing data entry. With more than 300 applications coming in from local nonprofits for the annual grant program alone, the organization needed a tool to help them manage, review, and better connect with their grantees.

Change came finally in 2018, when the Nashville Predators Foundation adopted Zengine, using it to manage the end-to-end processes for their grant and scholarship programs.

“We want to select organizations that don’t just take the check and say goodbye,” says Fisher. “We want to work with them, get updates, have our staff work alongside them, and make it a two-way street. Having the grant process online helps us stay organized and frees up our time for more interaction with the grant recipients.”

Fisher and her colleagues were able to expand the application, making it not just easier to complete, but allowing charities to better explain how the Predators family could best support them as a partner. And through the use of the submission portal, those same charities, once awarded a grant, can log back in and share their feedback, how they’ve used the grant money, and reapply for a second year of funding.

The foundation staff is also now able to easily pull mid- and end-of-year reports and share them online, allowing everyone who lends a hand to the foundation to have insight.

An even brighter future for Nashville ahead

In the midst of their second cycle in Zengine, Fisher is already thinking of ways to use more of the features and even better manage their programs.

“I foresee in the future being able to have an applicant reference a past grant they’ve received from us in their application, and us being able to look it up and tie it to this new request. I love that to facilitate continual partnership we’ll be able to keep up with what they have applied for, what we have and have not funded, and just better help their program.”

What’s more, the foundation’s review team has also found benefits to working via Zengine. “The reviewers love the review portal,” shares Fisher. “ I have some board members who still like to print the applications, but they can do that if they want to so I like that - it’s a win-win. They say the whole review process is much easier, and they don’t lose their papers. And I can actually read their notes!”

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